French Kissing

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41. Closing night party

After Marcy’s ordeal at the matinée the rest of the performances were plain sailing. There was a mixed sense of sadness and relief as the final show approached. It went just as beautifully as first night, and the cast gave two encores.

Afterwards the Closing Night party was held in the theatre. It was a large event, with many friends and family invited. Most of the cast wore their costumes since they were pretty stylish, and it was the last chance they’d get to wear them. Most removed their greasepaint though since without the stage lights it looked a bit mask-like.

Not having costumes, Len and Alan swapped their backstage clothes for suits, while Marcy slipped into an ultra sexy dress which had seemed perfect when she tried it on, but she was anxious it might be a little bit too suggestive. It was black and slinky, clinging to her curves, with some lace around the top of the shoulders.

She barely noticed the reaction of the other male members of the cast, but she saw Gray do a double take. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her.

The dress had served its purpose.

"It’s been a great week, hasn’t it?" Revel said, managing to slip away from a crowd of admirers. She was openly drinking champagne but no one seemed to mind. "That’s an absolutely amazing dress by the way." Revel herself was wearing one of Miss Adelaide’s nightclub outfits: it was red satin and designed to look flashy on stage. She carried it off perfectly.

Both Revel and Gray were getting a lot of attention from people who wanted to meet them and tell them how much they had enjoyed their performances. Revel handled it all with supreme grace and Marcy had a sudden vision of her in a few years’ time, signing autographs for fans. She wondered if they would still be friends once Revel inevitably became a star. She hoped so.

Gray seemed a little more uncomfortable with all the praise but was still polite to everyone. Dressed in his 1920s gangster outfit, Marcy could see why people used the term "matinée idol" to describe him. Both he and Revel managed to look convincingly as though they were from another era.

Brittanny Paige and Gretchen had bought tickets to the final show, having already seen it during the week. They tried to get into the party but thankfully were refused. Alan had drawn up a guest list and wouldn’t yield. "Cast, crew and named friends and family only I’m afraid girls. Thanks for coming, and we look forward to your support next year."

Brittanny was scowling while craning her neck trying to see where Gray was. Little did she know he was deliberately avoiding her.

"Hey Revel, Marcy, you can get me in can’t you?" Brittanny was so desperate she was even prepared to swallow her pride and beg.

"Sorry, I used up all my invitations," Revel said. "And Marcy too."

This wasn’t the case at all but no way did they want Brittany and Gretchen hanging around. In fact Mrs Helberg had invited Marcy’s parents but they had a prior engagement, which was a bit of a relief to Marcy. She was hoping that she might get the chance to speak with Gray and didn’t want her parents observing her too closely.

Revel’s grandmother wasn’t a fan of late night events so she had stayed at home as well. The result was that both Marcy and Revel were much more free to let their hair down.

"Poor Brittanny, being shown the door yet again," Revel said. "It’s just not her year, is it?" There were rumours that Brittanny’s long-suffering boyfriend had finally dumped her. Marcy was surprised he’d put up with her for this long.

"I guess not. I really hope she doesn’t sign up next year though." Marcy was looking forward to being involved in a future production but Brittanny’s presence would take a lot of the fun out of it.

"She won’t. I’ll tell Mrs Helberg it’s her or me," Revel said. Since Mrs Helberg had found out who Revel’s mother was, she had become even more delighted with Revel. Her earlier hesitation when Revel had first joined the theatre group was long gone. There was no way she would risk losing her newly-discovered star.

Martin came up to them, Gray just behind him. "Sad that it’s all over?"

"A little. But it’s always that way, isn’t it?" Revel said. "Anyway, we have the next production to look forward to."

"Will you be taking part in that?" he asked.

"If there’s a role. It depends what show they choose," Revel told him. "How about you?"

"Probably. This one has been fun."

"What about you, Mr Grayson?" Revel asked. There was an expression in her eyes that Marcy couldn’t quite interpret.

He smiled. "We’ll see. It’s a big time commitment."

Marcy hoped beyond hope he would agree to another production. She trusted in Mrs Helberg’s unfailing ability to get anyone to do anything. She would simply push and push - just like with Marcy’s mother - until people gave in. It was the path of least resistance.

A little later Revel and Martin had drifted off to separate groups and Marcy and Gray were left talking. They were supposed to avoid being one-on-one, she knew, but they were in a room full of people after all.

"You look beautiful," he said, his voice lowered so no one could hear. "I know I’m not supposed to say it, but you truly do."

"Thank you. You too." He did look incredibly hot. For a moment they both stood there and Marcy was sure he was thinking exactly what she was thinking. However they were in public and had to be careful.

"That dress makes it really hard for me to keep my resolve," Gray said.

"Should I take it off?" she asked.

"If we were alone I would take it off you myself."

From the look in his eyes he wasn’t joking. Marcy shivered, longing for him to drag her backstage and release some of the tension that was building up between them. The thought of all those empty dressing rooms was tempting…

But also far too risky. If Mrs Helberg found out that she was involved with her teacher it would get straight back to her parents and there would be hell to pay. Even though they had liked him, they would hardly see him as appropriate boyfriend material. "Mom, Dad, I’m dating my teacher." They would probably send her to military college in Antarctica.

"So will you be signing up for another one?" he asked.

Will it make any difference to your decision if I do? Marcy wanted to know. Instead she said: "Most probably. I don’t think Mrs Helberg would give me the choice of not doing so, what with living next door to us. What about you?"

"I don’t think she’s going to allow me to quit either."

Marcy felt a surge of happiness at this. It gave her something to look forward to in the New Year.

"Will you be in Springdale for the Christmas vacation?" Gray asked.

"Not all of it, I’m going to stay with a friend in New York," she said. Was it her imagination or did Gray look slightly disappointed, maybe even worried? "Addy, my friend since we were kids. She left Springdale last summer," she explained quickly.

There was definitely a hint of relief in his eyes. He had thought she might be staying with a boyfriend, she guessed. "Will you be here?" she asked him.

"I’ll probably stay with family for the Christmas weekend, but I’ll be here the rest of the time."

Marcy was glad to hear this. Maybe there was a chance she might bump into him in town, or at the café. The next rehearsals wouldn’t start until January, after the school term started. Otherwise she wouldn’t see him for several weeks. Long enough for him to get over her, to forget her.

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